In the presence of the five jathedars of the Takhts, who specially flew in from India, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who hails from Raipur village of the district, took oath as the new mayor of Gravesham at the annual council meeting held on Tuesday in Gravesend Council of United Kingdom. Dhesi, 32, has become the youngest Sikh mayor and second youngest mayor in the history of Gravesham.
Citing reasons of nominating Dhesi as mayor, Labour Party leaders said, “Other than his impressive educational background which demonstrates a lot of hard work, he has been a very conscientious councillor and works hard for the betterment of the residents of Gravesham”.
In his acceptance speech, Dhesi thanked the dignitaries for their presence, especially the five jathedars. He said that he was humbled by the honour bestowed upon him and added that he would work hard to make sure he lives up to the expectations. Dhesi, son of Jaspal Singh Dhesi and Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi, was born and brought up in the United Kingdom. He was the deputy head boy in his local Gravesend Grammar School and attended the University College London, Oxford University and Cambridge University.
Dhesi joined the Labour Party after completing his studies and was elected as the councillor from the Northfleet North Ward in Gravesham in 2007. He has been unanimously elected as the chairman of the Gravesham constituency. This is also the first time that there have been five councillors of Punjabi origin elected from Gravesham.
Other than Dhesi (Northfleet North Ward), others who were elected are Narinderjit Singh Thandi (Northfleet South Ward), Makhan Singh (Pelham Ward), Balbir Singh Sangha (Pelham Ward) and Gurdeep Bungar (Central Ward).
Labour gained the Gravesham Council after winning 25 seats out of the total 44 seats compared to 19 by the Conservatives. This was a gain of 9 seats compared to the 2007 local election when the party won 16 seats compared to the 28 by the Conservatives. This is the only local council in Kent under the control of the Labour Party.